Nipah virus: Unapproved drug brought from Australia to fight the deadly virus?

The Nipah virus hit the state of Kerala claiming at least 13 lives. It’s been over a week since its discovery in Kozhikode and the Kerala government wants to assure everyone that efforts to limit the virus to a small area has been successful. However, how the virus was transported to Kerala, all the way from Siliguri in West Bengal, is yet to be figured out by experts. Meanwhile, respite may be on the way in a form of a cure from Australia.

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The Kerala government got in touch with authorities in Australia for respite. The human monoclonal antibody (hmAb) has been found effective on animals, though it is unproven on humans.

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"Drugs that are not approved can be tested out on compassionate grounds on humans. The antibody from Australia has been administered to people on compassionate grounds before and they survived the virus," said health secretary Rajeev Sadanandan to Times of India.

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Confusion arose when a number of bats were discovered in a well near a house whose members were affected. The Nipah virus was previously discovered to be transmitted by fruit bats. However, tests on 21 bats around the area turned out to be negative. The ones found at the well were insectivores. Samples were also collected from other animals in the area such as cows, goats, dogs and cats – but all results turned negative. The hunt is still on to find the source of the disease.